Martes, 19 Junio, 2018

'We are very happy to have Aya back home'

Aya Hijazi founder of a charity that promotes a better life for street children has returned to the US after three Egyptian-American woman freed in Egypt goes home on US military plane
Eleena Tovar | 25 Abril, 2017, 18:59

Mr. Trump greeted Ms. Hijazi, an Egyptian who also holds US citizenship, on Friday shortly after her return to the USA on a military flight from Cairo after being acquitted of human trafficking charges stemming from her work with street children.

During almost three years spent shuttling between an Egyptian jail and a Cairo courtroom cage in a case dismissed by human rights groups as "bizarre", Aya Hijazi's American citizenship did not seem to count for much.

Trump said he struck "no deal" for her release, but that he had raised the issue as he hosted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at the White House at the beginning of this month.

A dual national who grew up just outside of Washington in Falls Church, Va., Hijazi was finally acquitted earlier this week after two presidential administrations spent years working to win her release.

Trump and his aides had engaged in behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts to gain her freedom after attempts by the previous Obama administration failed.

Trump arranged for a government aircraft to transport Aya Hijazi, 30, and her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, back to the United States, with the couple and family arriving late on Thursday.

Hijazi, 30, has dual citizenship in the US and Egypt.

Progressive groups in Egypt like Human Rights Watch have long advocated for Hijazi's release, arguing her charges were a "travesty" meant to crack down on progressive democratic groups and those with perceived ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Obama administration tried, and failed, to pressure Sissi to free them.

Aya and her husband, the founders of an NGO which looked after street children, had been charged with human trafficking, abduction, and sexual abuse for pornography, among other accusations. At the time, the president's critics questioned what he was doing to address al-Sisi' s human rights violations and the release of American prisoners in Egypt.

Hijazi was in Egypt running a nongovernmental organization that was seen as an anti-Egyptian scheme by Egyptian security officials, according to The Post.